SCVMM 2008 and Hyper-V – How to stay OUT of the Doghouse!

Hyper-V in Server 2008 is incredibly stable.   One of the greatest built-in features Microsoft has ever provided in an operating system.  And when you combine the power of Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager, it’s an unstoppable force.

But with all great powers (here’s the pun) come great responsibility.

I just love it.  Built in Virtualization technology in Server 2008.  It absolutely rocks.  Stable as anything and super responsive.

But *ALL* technology has glitches kinks.  Things that show up as your environments get larger.  Vmware, eSX can have problems.

But today we’re going to look at a little “Common Sense” to help avoid problems happening

First off, out of the box, a fresh install of Server 2008 comes with a pre-release copy of Hyper-V.

Immediately go-online and update it with two key updates which update not only the Hyper-V software but also the BITS which is used when moving the Virtual environments about.

And invest in good reliable backup.   I find Data Protection Manager 2007 marries beautifully with Hyper-V for backing up either machines, configuration or child Partitions.

One of the things I found when migrating machines and working with Hyper-V and SCVMM 2008 in general (especially as you get into larger setups) is one phrase

"Consistency is King"

Hardware

Consistency in your hardware choices of course, the more common your base of hardware is the easier it is to troubleshoot problems on the host (We have seven servers, same setup, this one always break *OR* all Seven Break which leads you to two paths of trouble shooting, one bad server or a bad patch.  Or the odd chance that all Seven machines failed outside warranty on the same night.  Unlikely but, Mr. Murphy is nobody’s friend.

Server Naming Conventions

Giving your virtual servers a simple and consistent pattern in the naming helps you to deal with them in the network, even if you just want to use the Hyper-V Manager.   Naming your Seven Hyper-V servers “Dopey, Sneezy, Doc, Sleepy … et al” might classify as nerdy cool, but when the fires are raging about and you need to hop into action, it’s the confusion you don’t need.   And if you ever get audited, explaining those server names to the CIO is just one problem you don’t need.

Virtual Network Naming

When you name those Virtual networks on your Hyper-V server, if they are attached to the same Subnet or Vlan, Name those Virtual Networks on each Hyper-V server the same.  IE: Workstation01-LAN, SRVLAN02.  Make sure whatever names you use are the name on each Hyper-V server.   Yes it looks nice.  Yes it’s a “Best Practice” but more importantly if you DO this SCVMM 2008 will reward you greatly when you have to migrate machines.   When you do a V2V (Virtual Machine Migration between servers) you’ll find it like’s to match the Vlan names.  Honestly, unless it “Sniffs out” the entire network topology on a regular basis, there really isn’t a proper and easy way for it to know which Vlan to attach to.   So it goes by name.  If your names match up, the process is smooooooth.

Balance the Power

It’s true you can get a LOT of machines into a Hyper-V environment.   My record is Thirty Seven (37) on a platform with 32 GB of ram.   But you should spread the power out, keep everthing efficient and smooth.  And if you’re using SCVMM 2008? It will aid you greatly in that aspect by monitoring Disk throughput, available ram, CPU speed when allocating virtual machines.

Next time we’ll look at what happens if you DO get into the Doghouse.

Sean
The Energized Tech

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